Italian Lessons (working title)
Italian Lessons tells the story of a young woman's exploration of the libraries and archives of northern Italy in search of letters from the most famous women of the 18th century: the prima donnas. This period in Italian opera saw the transition from castrated male singers to the prima donnas, and she seeks understanding of this strange epoch. Her quest leads to questions of sexuality and gender, the role of the Church and the Popes, and the incomparable Italian love affair with art. As well, she finds adventures of all kinds in her own time including navigating Italy from Rome to Venice, encounters with men of questionable morals, the recurring threat of homelessness, and a great romance of her own. Her journey culminates with the discovery of the long-silent voice of one of Italy’s most infamous prima donnas in letters unearthed in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. Her discovery of Caterina is also a discovery of herself, and Italy provides the stunning backdrop for this story of one woman’s inner questing and transformation.
Rebecca's heading to Italy on sabbatical to continue research in the archives in cities where Caterina performed. She'll be sharing her findings here. Stay tuned...!